Colombia

COLOMBIA: Public Declaration issued by CAHUCOPANA regarding the persecution of Carlos Usaga

CPTnet
March 21, 2016
COLOMBIA: Public Declaration issued by CAHUCOPANA regarding the persecution of Carlos Usaga 

 

The Corporation for Humanitarian Action, Cohabitation, and Peace in Northeast Antioquia – CAHUCOPANA – denounces the persecution and intimidation of Carlos Alfredo Palacios Usuga, member of the Board of Directors of CAHUCOPANA.  The incident, carried out by unidentified men, took place in the municipality of Remedios, department of Antioquia.

Incident

On March 2 of this year, Carlos Palacios was running errands in the urban centers of the municipalities of Segovia and Remedios, preparing later to travel to the rural sectors of these municipalities.

At approximately 11:00 am Carlos left the City Hall of Remedios, where he had been processing paperwork for a regional development project, and headed to the office of the Campesino Association of the Cimitarra River Valley (ACVC) located in the same municipality, when he realized an unknown subject had followed him. Without giving it much thought, he then went to a restaurant for lunch, then to a hairdresser, and finally back to City Hall.

During his route, the subject followed Carlos and waited outside each establishment until he left. At 4:00 pm outside of City Hall, a blue and black motorcycle picked up the olive-skinned man, who was wearing jeans, a white and orange striped shirt, and white and black tennis shoes. However, before leaving he took a picture of Carlos with his cell phone.

COLOMBIA: The Northeast Trail--a travel blog


COLOMBIA: The Northeast Trail--a travel blog

In October 2015 two CPTers traveled with our partners CAHUCOPANA across the Northeast region of Antioquia on a nine-day tour, immersing ourselves CAHUCOPANA’s rigorous daily schedule of workshops, meetings, and lots of travel. The ‘Northeast’, as they refer to it, is a region rich in resources and biodiversity where rolling hills of untouched jungle give way to small communities etched into the landscape, often only accessible by mule or on foot.  Unfortunately the region also has a history of displacement and human rights abuses, because the state does not involve itself in the region. One of CAHUCOPANA’s initiatives in response to this abandonment is the fomentation of women’s activism in the region, by the name of Women’s Humanitarian Action Committees.  Luna and Carlos, CAHUCOPANA field workers in the Remedios municipality and our guides for the week, travel regularly from village to village supporting and organizing the communities in their struggle for justice.  Our objective was to participate in several monthly committee meetings, listening and learning from the women of Northeast Antioquia.  

Prayers for Peacemakers, February 11, 2016

Pray for Carlos Morales, CPT Colombia's partner and friend, who has been unjustly detained for over four months.  Yesterday the judge postponed his hearing on grounds of a medical procedure.  This has become a pattern among cases of human rights defenders and social movement leaders, as a systematic strategy to draw out their cases as a way to prolong their detainment.

February 11, 2016  First Sunday of Lent
Libertad para Carlos Morales
Psalm 91:1-2, 9-10: You who live in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the Almighty, will say to the LORD, "My refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust."
Because you have made the LORD your refuge, the Most High your dwelling place, no evil shall befall you, no scourge come near your tent.

Psalm 91:1-2, 9-10: You who live in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the Almighty,
will say to the LORD, "My refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust."

Because you have made the LORD your refuge, the Most High your dwelling place,
no evil shall befall you, no scourge come near your tent.

 
*epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing  with a text  from the upcoming Sunday's Revised Common Lectionary readings.

COLOMBIA: 2016--a pivotal year for Colombia; an awesome year to join a delegation.

A civil war that has spanned over half a century in Colombia may soon end. When the FARC guerrilla members demobilize, civil society has the task of re-integrating these armed actors and building community. The government must follow through on its promises of reparations for the victims if its atrocities, violence and injustices, and guarantees it will not repeat them.

When Colombians speak of peace, the words 'social justice' go right alongside. The community leaders and human rights activists we partner with are very cautious to celebrate this peace deal until the government can prove that the demobilization is only the first of many steps to ensure the multi-faceted wellbeing and human rights of the Colombian population.  

We here at CPT welcome you to partner with us in 2016.  Consider joining one of our delegations to learn more about the work that we do and become a part of the Colombian solidarity movement.  If you cannot come to Colombia this year, encourage a friend who you think would benefit from an experience with CPT.  Or donate today to provide scholarships for individuals who want to participate. 

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COLOMBIA: Three different places, themes, CPT Colombia delegations for 2016. Sign up now!

Las Pavas community members have been repeatedly displaced from their land over the last twenty years by various different armed actors, the most recent being Aportes San Isidro, a palm oil company.  The palm oil industry is particularly powerful in the region, and uses a private security company to terrorize the community members, slashing their crops, burning down their houses, and poisoning their animals.  Through this example, we will help participants make links between Colombia and the North, as the presence of multinational corporations in Colombia has vastly increased since signing the Free Trade Agreement with Canada, the United States, and various European countries.

Land is a large part of the Colombian civil war, one of the longest in world’s history.  The conflict has resulted in over six million internally displaced people, who are often constantly on the move looking for land to provide for their families.  The majority of these people are peasant farmers, Afro-Colombians, and Indigenous Peoples, whose land is of political and economic interest to the parties of the conflict.  Often large landowners or multinational corporations take over the land and use it for cash crops for export, contributing to a global trend toward food insecurity.

Participants will have the opportunity to visit Garzal and Nueva Esperanza, where they will meet community members and engage in their experience.  These communities attribute their perseverance to their strong Christian faith, and as the country moves through a process of peace negotiations, we will hear from them about how that faith interacts with the conflict and what forgiveness and reconciliation means for them. 

COLOMBIA: Puerto Berrio--a liturgical action

CPTnet
17 December 2015
COLOMBIA: Puerto Berrio--a liturgical action

Hung around Puerto Berrio’s central plaza were large posters picturing its port, which declared “Puerto Berrio Lives and Dreams,” the theme commemorating the victims of the armed conflict in the region of Puerto Berrio. Survivors of the massacre of the Union Patriotica wore white, and youth from Medellin draped in black performed a drama showing the agony of loss and injustice. Over a hundred participants from the surrounding area gathered to solemnly declare that the lives of the mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, community members, and friends would not slip away unnoticed and invisible.

 

Over the last weekend of November we joined our partners CAHUCOPANA for a two day symbolic event to mourn and demand justice for these victims. This liturgical action by CPTer Jhon Henry Camargo, presented at the event, draws on the parallels of experiences of Jesus and his followers and today's victims of 50 years of armed conflict who challenged the apparatus of violence and death, to continue to live and dream.

 

Please feel free to download or stream this video and screen at your place of gathering. Walk with us year end to support peacemakers in Colombia.

 

For best viewing, watch the video in HD and fullscreen. Non-spanish speakers remember to turn on the subtitles by clicking on "CC"

Puerto Berrio: a liturgical act from CPT/ECAP Colombia on Vimeo.

CPT International: A Call to Tend the Sheep--farewell thoughts from CPT´s Personnel Coordinator


Carrying with me all the privilege that CPT has taught me I cannot leave behind no matter how noble my intentions, I have patiently waited, CPT style, for an invitation to join local initiatives in Paipa, Colombia to transform violence and oppression.

Recently my wife Silvia and I joined a group of people in Paipa interested in creating a cats and dogs´ rescue and adoption center. Paipa is a town of 32000 inhabitants in the heart of the Colombian Andes, where we migrated a couple of years ago escaping the chaos of Bogotá, Colombia´s Capital city.

Adriana in the field and at home in Paipa.

Those of you who follow Colombian current events may recall Paipa as one of the epicenters of a National Campesino strike that shook the nation´s economy in August 2013. Indeed, a huge portion of Paipa´s population grows the food crops that we eat in other parts of the country.

Prayers for Peacemakers, December 2, 2015

Prayers for Peacemakers, December 2, 2015

Pray for the communities of Garzal and Nueva Esperanza.  They have petitioned the head of INCODER—the Colombian government agency in charge of rural land management—asking for representatives to visit the area to verify and resolve of the issues surrounding the granting of titles and ownership to land.   INCODER returned sixty-four stolen land titles in 2013, and promised to complete their land process the following year, but the communities continue to wait—and face pressures from powerful people who want their land, and who have corrupt local authorities on their side.

*Epixel for Second Sunday in Advent, December 6, 2015
Campesino from Garzal load plantains onto boat
as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah, "The voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
    'Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.


 Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight,
    and the rough ways made smooth; 
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.'" Luke 3:4-6
*epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing  with a text  from the upcoming Sunday's Revised Common Lectionary readings.

COLOMBIA: Justice delayed is justice denied

 

Pipio’s cows responded to him when he called them by name.

In Colombia the problem is not so much unjust laws, as it is the failure to apply existing laws and legislation in a timely manner. The communities Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) Colombia accompanies are hugely affected by these failures, as is the entire country. In effect, such delays result in the continued impunity for perpetrators of crimes, thereby undermining the rule of law’s ability to prevent future crimes. Victims are not only denied justice and compensation; they are also at risk of becoming repeat victims of repeat offenders. The situation in which the campesinos of Las Pavas community, whom CPT has accompanied for five years, have been displaced from their land four times, due to government collusion with the palm oil company Aportes San Isidro, is emblematic. 

Pipio Dies Waiting for Justice

One campesino of Las Pavas who will never see justice is Rogelio Campos Gonzales, better known to his friends in the community as “Pipio.” Pipio was one of the very few members of the Las Pavas campesino community who remained on his land in the face of continual harassment by armed security personnel of palm oil company Aportes San Isidro (ASI). Most of his neighbours had given up and moved back to the nearby village of Buenos Aires. Pipio died on 13 April 2014 after suffering a heart attack. 

Prayers for Peacemakers, November 4, 2015

Prayers for Peacemakers, November 4, 2015 

Give thanks for the ten new Peacemakers who have successfully completed the 2015 Christian Peacemaker Teams training.  Pray that the Creator will work within them to give them the strength and courage they will need to do the difficult and rewarding work of peacebuilding with our partners in Colombia, Iraqi Kurdistan, Palestine and Indigenous communities.